Officials in Philadelphia are voicing support for the opening of safe-injection sites in the city to help combat opioid overdose deaths.
The location of the sites — which would let people inject drugs with medical supervision — have not yet been determined, according to reports.
If Philadelphia opens the sites, it could be the first city in the country to have officially-sanctioned safe-injection sites.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross emphasized the need to “save lives” but also raised questions about how the sites would work. Mayor Jim Kenney, who was not at the news conference, said he supports the initiative to open safe-injection sites.
“We don’t want them dying on the street and we want to have a place to administer Narcan if necessary,” Kenney said, referring to a drug that reverses overdoses. “We also want an opportunity to speak to people about their future and getting their lives straight … They can’t do that under a train bridge or on a train track.”
He said the city is “encouraging nonprofits and professionals” to open these sites, adding: “Hopefully, we’ll save lives.”
Philadelphia has the most overdose deaths of any major American city, according to the Inquirer.
City officials said the sites would be a “harm-reduction measure.” The city would not operate the sites itself, according to the Inquirer, but would help provide tools for private organizations to open them.